Types of Roofing Shingles | Compare Best Shingles and Costs
A new or replacement roof doesn’t come cheap so choosing the best roof shingle material at the best prices and from the best manufacturers is crucial if you want to get a quality, long lasting roof.
This is your comprehensive RenoCompare comparison report on the different roof shingle types, prices, best brands and the pros and cons of choosing shingles over other roofing materials.
ROOF SHINGLE TYPES AND PRICES
Roof shingle types are:
- Asphalt shingles
- Metal shingles
- Genuine slate shingles
- Composite or plastic shingles
- Wood shingles and shakes
Let’s explore shingle types individually. We’ll discuss options, costs and prices for each.
This is still the most common residential roofing material, though its share of the pie drops every year. Asphalt shingles are affordable and offer a good range of options.
Styles: Most brands make three tiers of shingles. Three-tab shingles are the most affordable and have a low profile, laying flat on the roof. Dimensional shingles, also called architectural shingles, are produced in midgrade and premium lines. Using more laminated layers of material gives them a higher profile designed to mimic wood and slate.
Specialty shingles: Your options include impact-resistant products, those treated to prevent algae growth and reflective Energy Star certified shingles.
Top asphalt shingle brands: CertainTeed, Atlas, GAF, Owens Corning, Malarkey, Tamko and IKO.
Warranty: Warranties for material defects range from 20 to “lifetime”, which usually means 40 or 50 years in the fine print. Warranties are prorated starting between year 6 and year 21 depending on the product and whether you choose an enhanced/extended warranty. Algae resistance is warranted for 10 years to “lifetime.”
Asphalt shingle cost: The installed cost for these products ranges from $2.50 to $6.75 per square foot. That cost includes underlayment and other installation materials, shingles and labor cost.
Rise in metal shingle popularity is part of a growing trend toward metal roofing of all kinds.
Metals: Steel, aluminum and copper are your metal shingle options. Steel and aluminum shingles are coated with primer and fade-resistant durable finishes like Kynar 500, Hylar 5000 and similar proprietary coatings in a wide range of colors. Copper can be coated to slow oxidation, which produces copper patina, or allowed to naturally oxidize.
Styles: Metal shingles are made to look like wood shingles and shakes, slate and barrel-type tiles. Thickness ranges from about 22 gauge (thicker) to 30 gauge (thinner).
Top metal shingle brands: Classic Metal Roofing Systems (aluminum), CertainTeed (zinc-coated steel alloy), EDCO (galvanized steel), Matterhorn by Tamko MetalWorks (G-90 galvanized steel), PermaLock (Aluminum) and InterLock (aluminum).
Warranty: 40 years to Lifetime. Most are prorated. A few, like Classic, offer a lifetime, non-prorated warranty.
Metal shingle cost: $6.85 to $9.30 per square foot for steel; $8.75 to $12.15 for aluminum. Copper costs $14-$20.
Further Reading: Metal Roof Vs Shingles
GENUINE SLATE SHINGLES
Slate is a high-cost, high-reward roofing. The only risk is poor installation that allows moisture to damage the roof and require reroofing long before it should.
Styles: Slate for residential roofs is 1/4″ to 3/8” thick. Slate tiles are cut to various sizes from about 12”x6” to 24”x12”. Your options include roofing with slate or uniform width and length or variable dimensions. The butt end can be straight, rounded or jagged. Uniform or blended color slate can be used too.
Colors: Gray shades are most common, but slate in rose, purple, green, blue, brown and black are available too.
Top suppliers: Vermont Slate Company and its subsidiary American Slate, Virginia Slate Company, Evergreen Slate Company, Vermont Specialty Slate and California Slate Company.
GAF TruSlate is a complete roofing system that uses a waterproof barrier over the entire roof. Slate is then butted, not overlapped. The purpose is to reduce the amount of slate material used and therefore lower its cost.
Warranty: 40 to 100 years. Most warranties against defects, which for slate generally means the slate flaking or separating, are not prorated.
Genuine slate shingle cost: $14.50-$28.00 per square foot.
COMPOSITE OR PLASTIC SHINGLES
The primary component of these shingles is plastic, often recycled from post-consumer sources. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is common as are other polymer formulas.
These materials are also referred to as fake shakes and synthetic shingles. The industry prefers the term “composite,” and that’s fair because plastic isn’t the only ingredient in most.
Styles: Molds are made from genuine wood shingles and shakes and stone slate. These molds give the composite shingles, shakes and slate a realistic texture, though some brands have a “plasticky” appearance. Drive by a few roofs covered in the composite shingle brand you’re considering before making a final decision. Barrel-type composite tiles are made too. Very cheap, flat plastic tiles are made, but aren’t recommended for anyone desiring a quality roof. They weren’t considered for this guide.
Top composite shingle brands: Brava, DaVinci, EcoStar, EnviroShake, Ply Gem and Quarrix.
Warranty: 50 years or Lifetime. Proration typically begins after 10 years, but begins in year 2 for a couple brands.
Composite shingle cost: Installed price with all accessories is $6.15 to $12.80 per square foot based on the quality and thickness of the shingles.
WOOD SHINGLES AND SHAKES
These are the roofing product most others mimic. The real deal, along with their natural beauty and potential performance flaws too.
Woods: White, yellow and red cedar, redwood, cypress and pressure-treated pine.
Grades: The names vary, but generally 1 Grade or Blue Label are made from clear heartwood for uniform good looks and durability. 2 Grade or Red Label include some sapwood and knots. 3 Grade Black Label are made from sapwood and may have knots.
Styles: Wood shingles are sawn on both sides (upside and roof side) for a cleaner, uniform appearance. They lay flatter to the roof deck. Shakes are more textured and rustic because they are split on both sides or just the top side. Like slate, shingles and shakes of all the same or different size and widths can be used to produce a variety of looks.
Suppliers: Most suppliers are regional. Your roofing contractor will have a favorite source of reliable products. They can be ordered from most building supply stores.
Warranty: 25 to 40 years for 1/2” material and up to 50 years for 3/4″ shingles and shakes.
Wood shingle and shake cost: Installed cost is $6.25-$12.00 based on the type and grade of wood and the complexity of the roof.
Further Reading: White Cedar Shingles Vs Red Cedar Shingles
Here’s a quick and easy summary table of different roof shingle types, their cost and their typical warranties:
PROS AND CONS OF ROOFING SHINGLES
SHINGLE ROOF ADVANTAGES
Shingles dominate the residential roofing industry for many reasons.
Perhaps it’s circular reasoning, but most homeowners choose shingles because most homes have shingles. In other words, they look right at home in any neighborhood anywhere. That can’t be said for clay and concrete tiles, large-panel metal roofing or membrane roofs like TPO.
With that in mind, some shingle types are better fits for some neighborhoods. Slate and clay shingles are over the top for a small bungalow on a block of affordable houses. You’d never get their value back at the sale of the home.
Asphalt shingles are forbidden in some upscale neighborhoods. Wood, metal, asphalt, composite and fiber cement work in most neighborhoods. The key is choosing a shingle type that fits neighborhood norms.
RESISTANCE TO WEATHER AND OTHER THREATS
Proper installation is essential. But when done correctly, shingles and their support materials like underlayment and moisture barrier keep out water, even wind-driven rain. They are resistant to wind, with most warranties backing them in winds from 110mph to 130mph. Many have the highest rating available for impact (Class 4) and fire (Class A). Wood is treated to slow the spread of fire, but still ranks well below the others in fire resistance. And all but wood are impervious to insects and the birds that hunt for them.
Most shingles types are available in a pleasing range of colors and styles. Even slate roofing is produced in many stone colors and blends, shingle widths and lengths. Wood is the exception, though shakes and shingles offer classic good looks. You won’t have trouble finding several good options in any material, regardless of the home’s architectural style or current siding.
Value is the combination of reasonable cost and durability. While asphalt shingles don’t last more than 15-25 years based on quality and the installation climate, they cost the least of all types. They’re still a good value for homeowners on a budget and those that plan to sell their home before the shingles need replacing.
Generally speaking, as cost goes up, so does longevity. That’s why it is reasonable to say that even slate is a good value, since it lasts 100+ years. That’s excellent lifetime cost.
In our opinion, metal shingles, especially aluminum, top the value list. They’re competitively priced with the best asphalt shingles and wood, but should last 50 years or more.
If a few shingles need replacing due to weather damage or bad installation, the job is much easier than repairing steel panel roofing.
SOME SHINGLES ARE GREEN
Metal and plastic composite shingles are made from recycled materials and can be recycled, though recycling may take more energy than using virgin materials. Slate has the lowest embodied energy of any roofing type – meaning the least amount of energy is used in their manufacture. The stone can also be reused and repurposed indefinitely.
There are many ways a roof shingle can meet Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) and/or Energy Star standards. Reflective coatings is the most common approach. Using battens in installation to raise the material off the deck and allow airflow is a technique used metal. Asphalt shingles coated in light-colored, reflective granules qualify too. Cool roofing lowers roof temperatures by as much as 50 degrees F, according to the US Department of Energy. That translates into significant cost savings on air conditioning.
SHINGLE ROOFING DISADVANTAGES:
While most roofing shingle pros apply across the board or nearly so, the disadvantages of shingles tend to be more specific to shingle type.
SOME ARE EXSPENSIVE
While slate, clay and aluminum shingles might have good long-term value, they come with significant original cost. They’re not the type of material you’d put on your roof to dress it up for sale. Since the return on investment of these (and all type) shingles is less than 70%, value is achieved by living in the home 10+ years – value goes up the longer you stay.
DURABILITY CAN BE POOR
Cheap asphalt shingles can show wear within a decade in hot, sunny climates. If not treated for algae resistance, they can show streaks and stains in just a few years. When a roof is poorly ventilated, heat buildup causes cupping and softening that makes them susceptible to wind.
If the coating on steel shingles is scratched, rust will rapidly begin. Oxidation spreads under the coating, peeling it away. The coatings are susceptible to scratching from windblown or falling debris, from being walked on, leaning a ladder against the roof, etc. The roofing needs to be inspected at least twice per year and after storms with high winds.
WEIGHT CAN BE AN ISSUE
Residential grade slate from 1/4″ to 3/8” thick weighs 6.5 to 10 pounds per square foot. Clay roof shingles weigh more than 6 pounds per square foot. In some cases, a roof might require reinforcing before the material can be installed, which raises cost. The weight also increases installation cost. If the material is ordered and shipped, expect to pay shipping costs too.
ASPHALT AND CLAY AREN’T GREEN
Asphalt shingles that are not cool-roof rated readily absorb heat from the sun. That can make a house warmer, cause the AC to run more and raise energy costs. And while they are recyclable, it is difficult to find a facility that will handle asphalt shingles. As a result, or from homeowners/roofers not wanting the hassle, most asphalt ends up in a landfill.
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